HOME / News / ‘One Life’ Alum Dies

‘One Life’ Alum Dies

By Scotty Gore
Friday, June 27, 2008 12:06 AM | By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Accomplished actress and former “One Life to Live” cast member Dody Goodman has died at the age of 93.

Dody Goodman, a comedian and actress who first came to fame on Jack Paar’s “The Tonight Show” from 1957-1958 has died following a lengthy illness. Goodman became a semi-regular on the late-night talk show in part due to her ditzy personality and sense of humor. In his memoir, Paar affectionately referred to Goodman as having a “wackily endearing quality” that made her his “first big hit.” However, Parr would let her go from the show in 1958 stating that he felt “like the announcer on ‘The Dody Goodman Show.’ ”

Following her success on “The Tonight Show,” Goodman cashed in on her newfound celebrity status by appearing on a number of other television talk shows of the time, including Ed Sullivan’s “Talk of the Town.” In a 1983 interview with the New York Times, Goodman commented that “I just opened my mouth and people laughed.” From 1976-1977, she joined the cast of “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” as the title character’s mother. According to her New York Times obituary, Goodman’s character on the satiric sitcom “Talked to plants and had an affair with a hot-air balloonist who crashed through her kitchen roof,” and that “her crackly voice intoned the show’s title during opening credits.”

In addition, Goodman’s character Martha Shumway, was enamored with her husband until he had plastic surgery after falling into a huge vat of Rustoleum. This resulted in his looking like former teen idol Tab Hunter (who had taken over the role), and caused Martha to have a difficult time being affectionate with him.

In 1978, she gained renewed fame as Blanche Hodel, eccentric high school secretary in “Grease.” She would later reprise the role in the sequel “Grease II,” and in later incarnations of the popular play on Broadway.

Among Goodman’s numerous other television credits include appearances on shows such as “The Merv Griffin Show,” “CHiPs,” “Dinah!,” “The Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island,” “The Steve Allen Show,” “The Phil Silvers Show,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Hour,” “St. Elsewhere,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Punky Brewster,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” and “Murder, She Wrote.”

In addition to her work in primetime, Goodman also appeared on three different daytime soap operas. In 1968, she portrayed Althea Franklin on “Search for Tomorrow,” and in 1982, she played Marvis Cobb on “Texas.” Her final soap role was on “One Life to Live,” where she would portray two different characters. In 1984, she portrayed Molly McDermott on “OLTL.” Molly was the mother of Maxie McDermott, spacey redheaded secretary of conman Marco Dane. Maxie had been lying to her mother for several years, pretending to be a famous singer, who lived in a mansion, and was engaged to Marco. The lie threathened to be exposed when Molly phoned to report that she would be stopping in Llanview to visit Maxie before moving to Ireland. With Marco’s assistance, Maxie was able to pull the wool over her mother’s eyes, and convince her that she was a world-renound singer. In 2001, Goodman would return to “OLTL” in the role of Sister Michael Marie, a nun at St. Ann’s mental institution.

Goodman, whose voice was once referred to as being “like a Tweetie Pie cartoon bird strangling on peanut butter,” had spent the last few years at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, New Jersey. Born on October 28, 1914, Goodman had no children, and left behind no known family members. According to a spokesperson from the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Ms. Goodman died on Sunday, June 22nd at the age of 93.